StorySpook Village

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StoryBook Gardens has had a spooky makeover!

Beginning tonight from 6:00-8:30pm and happening every evening until October 30, StoryBook Gardens is creating some hauntingly good fun. This is a great introduction to Halloween adventures in a safe and familiar environment or a warm up for the big day. Your kids will love the haunted castle! Dress them up in costumes and let them Trick or Treat with characters throughout the park at different stations. If weather permits, have some fun on the Leaping Lily Pad, amusement park rides and Super Slides!

ADMISSION to the event is $15 for children 12 months and over. Children under 12 months and adults are FREE with a paid child’s admission.

This annual event is one of the highlights of the week before Halloween. Don’t miss it!

Talking to Children About Tragedy

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This week, Canada has had what our Prime Minister has labelled as two acts of terror committed on our own soil. It is hard enough for us, as adults, to process and understand the motives of such acts, never mind how to explain it to our children. The media coverage is pervasive and deciding what you should and should not allow your children to see/read/hear can depend on their age and personality. If you are struggling with what to say and how to say it, please read through these links:

Tips for Parents on Media Coverage

Helping Children Cope with Terrorism

Helping Kids Cope with Media Coverage of War and Traumatic Events

Talking to Kids About Terrorism or Acts of War

Today, we are grieving for the families and friends of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo. We are grateful for the brave men and women who intervened to help the victims and stop the attacks. We are standing proudly in unity for our beautiful country.

This Weekend in London

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It’s a weekend full of ghouls and ghosts as the countdown to Halloween is on!

Here is our rundown of what is happening October 24-26:

Blue Suede Shoes

Elvis is rocking the main stage at the Grand Theatre now through November 1. With tickets starting at just $29.95 you can sing along with the world champion Elvis impersonator Roy LeBlanc as he relives the life and career of Elvis Presley.

The London Baby Expo

It’s back at the Western Fair District’s Progress Building on October 25, 9am to 4pm and 26, 10am to 3pm. Admission is $7, children under 12 are free. There will be plenty of door prizes at this event which features exhibits and sponsors to guide you from bump through childhood.

VegFest

A vegan festival is coming to the Western Fair District’s Canada Building this Saturday from 10am to 6pm. Admission and parking is free for this event for the whole family. Come eat delicious food from their many vendors, explore clean living, watch cooking demonstrations, learn about animal rights and let your children try out free yoga classes or play in the children’s activity area.

The Great Eldon House Ghost Hunt

Is this old London landmark haunted? Come find out from 1-4pm on Sunday. The whole family is invited, $5 per person.

Octoberfest

The German Canadian Club is celebrating this annual tradition Friday and Saturday. Advanced tickets are $15 or $20 at the door.

Do you have any big plans this weekend? Want me to talk about your event? Let me know anytime  jill@londonmoms.ca

The Sifton Bog

Sifton Bog

When I first proposed a trip to the Sifton Bog, my children were less than enthusiastic about going. What could possibly be exciting about wandering down a trail in the middle of the city to a little patch of water? As it turned out – everything! They were won over by the sounds, sights, and peacefulness of our mid-autumn adventure. We spent a lot of time looking for the winter home-building of creatures, tracks left by animals, different insects, and of course the many, many plants and trees. At the pond there were frogs and turtles to play with while I sat back and enjoyed being outside the city, inside the city.

The Sifton Bog is a gorgeous little London treasure just off Oxford Street between Hyde Park Road and Sanatorium Road, accessible for the whole family from stroller to grandparents.The Bog is a protected wetland which is home to many plants and animals that are hard to come by in the more urban parts of our beautiful city. A 370m boardwalk leads you from the parking lot through the wooded area and the open bog to the small pond, rich with both wildlife and history. For the more adventurous, there are also 2.5km of trails through the bog. Whether you are heading there to learn or just to escape, the Bog is a definite winner for all ages.

Have you been to the Sifton Bog? Did your family enjoy it?

http://thamesriver.on.ca/parks-recreation-natural-areas/londons-esas/sifton-bog/

 

 

The Library Store

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It’s no secret that I am enormous fan of the entire Christmas season. From the time I break out the scarves, until the last twinkling light is packed away, I am a happy woman. However, if there is one thing that can put a damper on my hohoho, it is the accumulation of Too Much Stuff. October becomes my favourite time of year to do a thorough evacuation of our excess possessions and send off what I can to other homes. Combine this urge to purge with a true love for our phenomenal public library system here in London and you get The Library Store.

The Library Store takes donations of used books and other materials to resell or add to the library’s borrowing stock. While any library is generally able to accept small donations, the Central Branch is equipped to receive your big annual clean out. Any gently used and relevant adult, teen or children’s books are happily accepted (time to clear out those board books!), special interest books (like that Atkins cookbook you used once or the knitting book someone swore you would love), recent popular magazines (thank you QSP fundraiser) and any CD’s or DVD’s that your children have not managed to scratch. They will even take your completely useless collection of VHS movies,so get rid of them! They don’t want all of your junk though – please find another home for your old highlighted textbooks, your 1985 encyclopedia’s and your child’s book with the questionable stain.

The Library Store has a permanent location at the downtown Central Branch in Citi Plaza. It is a fantastic used book store where you can purchase overstocked or donated items such as novels, children’s books, magazines, CD’s and DVD’s – not only is it a great place to donate your previously loved items, but it also makes a great Christmas-on-a-Budget shop, especially if you still have a functioning VHS player.

Volunteers from the Friends of the London Public Library run the store, with proceeds going back to the library and special projects of the LPL system. For more information, have a look at their website: http://www.londonpubliclibrary.ca/donatematerials

 

 

Pumpkin Muffins with Orange Glaze

For many of us, the return of fall means one delicious thing: the ability to indulge endlessly in everything pumpkin. It begins with the decadent (and sometimes controversial) Pumpkin Spice Latte, continues into pumpkin pies, and then spills over into cookies, breads, cupcakes, soup, donuts, and of course muffins. Whether you are Team Pumpkin or Team Pumpkin Spice (or Team What’s the Difference?? *note: everything), you can’t get through the season of orange without a little pumpkin in your life.

I am Team Pumpkin Spice all the way, meaning that I love the flavours in the pumpkin spice mix far more than I love the taste of actual pumpkin. However, these muffins were a fantastic compromise for both flavours. The adults and the children in our house loved these flavourful little guys. Give them a try!

 

Pumpkin Muffins with Orange Glaze

DAIRY FREE, GLUTEN FREE OPTION, NUT FREE, SCHOOL-SAFE

2 cups 100% pure pumpkin puree

1 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp cloves

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour (or GF flour)

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

ORANGE GLAZE (optional)

½ cup icing sugar

¼ tsp finely grated orange zest

4 tsp orange juice

 

  1. Heat oven to 425F. Grease/spray mini muffin and/or standard cups. (Yields approx. 24 mini + 9 standard)
  2. In medium saucepan, bring pumpkin, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves to a simmer until the puree thickens (about 5-10 minutes).
  3. Put pumpkin puree in a large bowl and mix in brown sugar and oil. Beat in the eggs.
  4. In a medium sized bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add to pumpkin mixture and mix until combined.
  5. Spoon batter into muffin tins and bake until cooked through, about 10 minutes for mini muffins, 13 minutes for standard muffins.
  6. Transfer onto a wire rack to cool while you mix the glaze.  Drizzle glaze over warm muffins.
  7. Make yourself a cup of tea and let us know what team you’re on.

 

For questions, comments or fantastic spam, you can find me at jill@londonmoms

Tons of Free Programs Taking Place this Fall/Winter at London Libraries

Hamilton Library

We recently posted about the Spectrum Fall/Winter 2014 Guide now being available. This guide offers hundreds and hundreds of programs taking place throughout the city for people of all ages, along with a simple way of registering. Similarly, the London Public Library recently released Access, a library magazine also listing tons of awesome programs and events for people of all ages that are taking place this fall and winter. With London being home to 16 different libraries, you can only imagine how many programs there are to choose from. What’s great about many of the programs and events put on by the public library is that they are drop in, meaning you don’t have to register in advance. Another great thing about the programs is that many are based on reading or educating. As if these aspects aren’t great enough, one last pro to these programs is that most of them are absolutely free!

This magazine can be viewed online by clicking here. Check out page 10 and onwards for a list of the programs. If you would like to search for the programs being held at a specific library, make note that the libraries are listed in alphabetical order. If you’re not sure which library is closest to you, all 16 are listed below.

Continue reading

Experience Short-Track Racing at Delaware Speedway

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Here’s a down-the-road gift idea that someone would certainly never forget! Groupon currently has a deal for 50% off the price of a short-track racing experience at Delaware Speedway. The Delaware Speedway is one of Canada’s oldest racing tracks that is still operating. Located in Delaware about 25 minutes outside of London, the half-mile, paved track was built back in 1952. Delaware Speedway hosts races in many different divisions that spectators are welcome to come and watch.

But what if you want to hop in a real race car? That’s where this awesome Groupon deal comes in! There are three different deals being offered:

Shotgun ride-along experience: hop in the passenger seat and ride along with a professional driver for three laps! This package is $64 ($129 value).
“Taste of Speed” racing experience: get behind the wheel after a classroom instruction and speed your way around the track for 5 laps. This package is $99 ($199 value).
“The Shootout” racing experience: get behind the wheel after classroom instruction and speed your way around the track for 15 laps. This package is $179 ($449 value)

Those wishing to participate in the Shotgun ride along experience must be 17 years of age or older and between 5′ and 6’4″. Those wishing to drive the vehicle themselves must be 18 years of age or older and have a valid drivers license.

To purchase this Groupon or learn more, click here.

 

Freebie Alert: Doors Open Ontario

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On Saturday, September 27th and Sunday, September 28th, the public will have the opportunity to check out hundreds of art and heritage sites throughout the city for no charge. This event is called Doors Open Ontario. Doors Open Ontario gives families the chance to celebrate their city’s heritage and embrace it’s rich culture. Not only is this event free, but some of the sites participating in Doors Open Ontario are not usually open to the public – thus making the weekend all the more exciting. This year will mark London’s 13th year participating in Doors Open Ontario, making it one of the oldest host cities in Ontario.

By clicking here, you can check out all the different events that are taking place at hundreds of locations during Doors Open Ontario weekend. You can also pick up a guide at London Art’s Council, London Heritage Council Office, all London Public Library Branches, all London Community Centres, and Tourism London. Check out who is participating on what day at what time, and plan a schedule so that you can make the most of this once-in-a-year opportunity! Transportation shouldn’t be an issue, as you can purchase a family bus pass for just $5 for the entire day!

Free admission to the London Children’s Museum, flying demonstrations at the Jet Aircraft Museum, a first hand experience of what life was like in the 19th century at Fanshawe Pioneer village – these are just a few of the places to check out during Doors Open Ontario.

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Happening in London this Weekend

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Be sure to check out our events page if you are looking for some fun activities to do this weekend! Here are a few in particular to take note of:

Family Fun and Movie in the Park

Join Forest Green Community Club for the last Movie in the Park of the summer at Village Green Park on Friday, August 29th. At 6:30pm, there will be swimming at Forest Edge Community pool and a barbeque for $5 a person or $15 for a family. Beginning at dusk (approximately 9:30pm), a family friendly movie will be shown. Be sure to bring a blanket or lawn chair! Everyone is welcome for some Friday family fun!

UFC Experience Tour

Are you a UFC fan? Come by the Covent Garden Market Square on August the 30th between 11am and 4pm. The UFC Experience Tour is travelling to different Canadian cities, and London is one of the stops along the way! This event is meant to engage, educate and excite people about the sport of mixed martial arts and the UFC. People will have the opportunity to meet UFC fighters, learn about the mixed martial arts, participate in fun activities, and celebrate the sport.

My Little Pony at Storybook Gardens

Come to Storybook Gardens on Sunday, August 31st for My Little Pony’s live, interactive musical adventure. Shows will occur at 11am, 1pm and 3pm at the Village Stage. The show will feature Pinkie Pie, Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, and Twilight Equestria Girl. This show is based on the importance of friendship and is sure to be an entertaining experience for everyone!

Labour Day Back 2 School Bash

Stop by the London Children’s Museum on Labour Day for a full day of fun before it’s time to head back to school! There will be minute to win it games, awesome crafts, an exciting scavenger hunt, and much more!